Opening the Torah this weekend, we read from Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1), the portion that includes the suggestion that the end of Moses’s life is approaching, and that in light of this, God appoints Joshua to serve as Moses’s successor. Despite some stark contrasts between the two leaders, the Torah tells us that Joshua is an ish asher ruach bo, an “inspired man,” and has ruach hochmah, the “spirit of wisdom/skill.” From both of these descriptors, we can infer that Moses’s successor was not chosen to be exactly like Moses, but instead, to draw both from the foundation Moses has laid, and from Joshua’s own intuition, not to mimic the leader the Israelites have had, but to become the leader that they need.
Our Mitzvah Corps teens this summer are doing the same, learning from incredible teachers and yet infusing their own perspective and wisdom into their vision of the world they want to create. Working with teens provides a window into this unique turning point, when they transition from being led to being leaders. To the extent that we, as adults, get to choose our successors, I stand behind Mitzvah Corps teens every time, trusting them not to repeat our mistakes, but to be at the forefront of necessary and radical positive change. And so far this summer, we have seen this with our teens in New Jersey and Costa Rica. Thank you for allowing us to be part of the journey.
Alexa & Jonah